Manchester United’s stock rose in after-hours trade Tuesday following the latest development in the takeover battle for the iconic English football club.
MarketWatch understands that Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani has made an improved bid for Manchester United. As before, the bid is for 100% of the club, will clear Manchester United’s debt and includes a separate fund directed solely at the club and community.
Shares of operator Manchester United Ltd. MANU,
Sheikh Jassim is the chair of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a past prime minister of Qatar. He is bidding for the club through his Nine Two Foundation, which was named in an apparent nod to Manchester United’s “Class of ’92” FA Youth Cup-winning team, which included future stars David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
Rival bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the chief executive of the chemical giant Ineos. The British billionaire’s sporting links are strong: Ratcliffe, who ranks 27th on the Sunday Times Rich List, already owns the French Ligue 1 soccer club OGC Nice and the Ineos Grenadiers professional cycling team.
Related: Manchester United stock jumps after report of ‘world record bid’ for the club
Sky Sports has reported that the American Glazer family that owns Manchester United is looking for $7.4 billion for the famous club, which had a calculated value of $4.6 billion in 2022, according to Forbes.
The Glazers took control of Manchester United in 2005. In November, they confirmed they were exploring potential financial investment or an outright sale of the Premier League club.
The BBC reported that one of Ratcliffe’s suggestions has been to lower his bid for the Glazers’ 69% shareholding to just over 50%, allowing the current owners to retain some involvement in the club.
MarketWatch has reached out to Ineos and Manchester United with requests for comment on this story.
Related: Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe meets with Manchester United for sale talks
The Glazers have come under intense pressure to sell Manchester United amid ongoing fan frustration over what is seen as underperformance. The club, one of the biggest names in world soccer, last won the Premier League in 2013. In 2021, the Glazers faced major backlash from fans over planned involvement in the controversial European Super League.
The club did clinch its first silverware in six years earlier this year, with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United in the League Cup final.
Manchester United is the most successful team in the English top division, which it has won 20 times. A record 13 of those titles have come in the Premier League era, which began in 1992. Founded as Newton Heath in 1878, the club became Manchester United in 1902 and won the first of its 20 league titles six years later.